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July 10, 2009 (El Cajon)--Shortly after 12 noon El Cajon Fire crews responded to a house fire at 861 Grossmont Avenue in El Cajon. As fire crews responded, a large plume of smoke could be seen at a distance, and when they arrived on scene, flames were shooting from the windows.


An 82 year-old homeowner and her adult daughter were at home at the time of the fire. Before fire crews arrived, an off duty emergency medical technician as well as two City of El Cajon Public Works employees saw the smoke and responded to the home to see if anyone was in the structure. The daughter came out, followed shortly by her mother, who was carrying her small dog from the burning room. City worker John Wilson quickly grabbed the elderly woman pulling her out to safety, since flames were directly overhead.  His co-worker, Danny Perez, and an off-duty EMT, Johann Sulser, were also on hand. 


The woman received minor burns while rescuing her dog, Angel. Sulser tended to the woman's injuries until paramedics arrived. She was transported to a nearby hospital. Her dog, a Chihuahua mix, was not injured.  A missing cat was later found alive, with singed paws.

It took 30 firefighters about half an hour to knock down the blaze. Crews from La Mesa Fire and the San Miguel Fire Protection District provided assistance.The home is considered a total loss; the cause of fire is now under investigation. Preliminary estimates are $250,000 for the home and its contents.

Photo credit: El Cajon Battalion Chief Ted Kakuris.

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